Arthritis Pain

What is an ingrown toenail?

An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the toenail penetrates the skin surrounding the nail. It is most commonly seen in the big toe, but any toe can be affected. Ingrown toenails can cause pain, redness, and swelling, and if left untreated, they can become infected and spread to the bone beneath the skin. It is important to treat ingrown toenails promptly to avoid further complications.


What are the symptoms of an ingrown toenail?

The main symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain along the edge of the nail, especially when pressure is applied to the area. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling and redness around the affected toe
  • Drainage of pus from the area
  • Difficulty walking or wearing shoes due to the pain.
  • A feeling of warmth around the affected area
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the affected area (in cases of infection)

What causes an ingrown toenail?

Several factors can contribute to the development of ingrown toenails, including:

  • Wearing tight or poorly fitting shoes: Shoes that squeeze the toes together or put pressure on the edges of the nails can cause the nails to grow into the skin.
  • Cutting the nails too short: Cutting the nails too short or rounding the corners of the nails can cause the nails to curl and grow into the skin.
  • Trauma to the nails: Nails damaged or injured can sometimes grow in a way that causes them to become ingrown.
  • Inherited nail shape: Some people are more prone to developing ingrown toenails due to the shape of their nails, which may be more curved or prone to growing inward.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections of the nails can cause the nails to become thick and distorted, increasing the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Improper foot hygiene: Poor foot hygiene, such as not washing and drying the feet properly, can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Age: Ingrown toenails are more common in older adults due to changes in the nails and skin with age.

Complications of ingrown toenail

If left untreated, ingrown toenails can lead to several complications, including:

  • Infection: The skin around the ingrown toenail may become infected, causing redness, swelling, and pus drainage. If not treated, the infection can spread to the bone beneath the skin.
  • Chronic pain: Ingrown toenails that are not treated can cause ongoing pain and discomfort, especially when wearing shoes or walking.
  • Difficulty walking: Severe pain or infection in the affected toe can make walking or engaging in physical activities difficult.
  • Damage to the nail: In some cases, the nail may become damaged or deformed due to an ingrown toenail.
  • Damage to the skin: The skin around the ingrown toenail may become thickened and scarred if left untreated.

Prevent ingrown toenail

Here are some tips for preventing ingrown toenails:

  • Trim your nails straight across and avoid rounding the corners.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and have a wide toe box to give your toes room to move and breathe.
  • Avoid wearing tight hosiery or socks that may squeeze your toes.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet daily and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • Avoid picking at or biting your nails, as this can damage the nails and increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  • Avoid wearing high heels or shoes with narrow-toe boxes, as they can pressure your toes and nails.
  • Take breaks when standing or walking for long periods, as this can help reduce the pressure on your toes and nails.
  • Avoid injuring your nails, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.

How do we treat the condition?

There are various treatments that will be applicable for ingrown toenails. However, everyone is different. Therefore we will work with you to develop the most suitable treatment plan for you, to help you get out of pain.

How we can help:

  • Triangular wedge resection of the nail:
  • Using a specific technique, the Podiatrist will remove the nail spike that is causing the discomfort.
  • In some cases, a Partial Nail Avulsion is needed.

Check out our other Services!